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Don Harvey

Don Harvey

Secretariat1175 Peachtree Road NE100 Colony Square - Suite 400AtlantaGeorgiaUSA30361

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Don Harvey is a “seasoned” and “excellent” construction specialist, looked upon with enormous favour for his leading expertise on the delay side.​

Questions & Answers

Mr Harvey is a managing director at Secretariat (a leading provider of expert services). Mr Harvey provides advice on delay, cost/damages, and productivity/inefficiency. He has been engaged on many of the highest-profile construction disputes in the world such as the Panama Canal, Wembley Stadium and the Burj Khalifa. Mr Harvey is known for his independence and common-sense approach. He is one of the leading testifying experts in the construction dispute arena. Mr Harvey is a civil engineer with an MBA in finance.

Why did you decide to set up your own practice? 

I worked for some fairly large companies earlier in my career. I set up Secretariat because I thought the larger companies had lost focus on the real drivers of our industry – independence, quality and a hands-on approach. 

What benefits are there for a company introducing experts early in the dispute resolution process? 

The key to resolving disputes is focusing on the issues that matter and eliminating the noise. Companies can get a clearer picture of the key issues driving delays and cost overruns by involving experts earlier in the process, and as a result, are more likely to get resolution. 

How have you adapted your practice to the challenges covid-19 has presented? 

I was cross-examined on Zoom in late March 2020 on a major dispute. Initially, I was a sceptic, but it worked really well. As a company, we have endorsed the video approach and think there will be some silver linings to covid-19’s impact on our industry – less travel, less expenses for clients and a positive impact on the climate.

Do you expect virtual preparations and hearings to become the new normal for international arbitrations? 

I think they will be more accepted but it will be a balance. There are some aspects of hearings that can’t be replaced by video conferencing. 

How are technological developments currently affecting the practice of quantum and delay analysis? 

The virtual aspects of hearings/meetings has placed an even greater need for delay and quantum analyses to be articulate and to the point. 

What challenges do you face with the increased volume of data being used in disputes? 

The key to delay and quantum analyses is presenting complex analyses in a manner that is readily understood by tribunals. The increasing volume of data has increased the overall need for experts to assess the data and assist the tribunals. 

What do clients look for when appointing an expert witness, and has this changed since you first started practising? 

Sophisticated clients look for experts that will present an independent opinion that is credible. In the past, there was more of a desire to find experts that would toe the party line. 

What do you enjoy most about working as an expert in the construction sector?

Working as an expert is a bit like solving a puzzle. In most disputes, there are a handful of issues that drive the vast majority of delay and cost overruns. I enjoy doing the analysis to identify those issues and letting the parties argue about liability.

Thought Leaders - Arbitration Expert Witnesses 2020

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Don Harvey is “very well regarded” among market commentators who distinguish him as “one of the best for delay disputes”. ​

Questions & Answers

Mr Harvey is a managing director at Secretariat (a leading provider of expert services). Mr Harvey provides advice on delay, cost/damages, and productivity/inefficiency. He has been engaged on many of the highest-profile construction disputes in the world, such as the Panama Canal, Wembley Stadium and the Burj Khalifa. Mr Harvey is known for his independence and common-sense approach. He is one of the leading testifying experts in the construction dispute arena. Mr Harvey is a civil engineer with an MBA in finance. 

How do you prepare for complex high-value multinational disputes?

Have a thorough understanding of the facts and details of the project.

What more should more be done to improve the transparency of arbitration proceedings?

An advantage of arbitration (and a key factor in its success/growth) is the confidential nature of proceedings and, therefore, I am not sure that making it transparent is in the best interests of the clients.   

To what extent has the arbitration expert market become fragmented over the past decade?

It has become more fragmented and more localised to specific geographies with the growth of key arbitration centres (Singapore, Dubai, Paris, New York, London, etc). 

If you could implement one reform in international arbitration, what would it be?

More reliance on videoconferencing for hearings/meetings. This would decrease expenses for the client and help the industry do its part for climate change. I recently participated in an arbitration hearing on a $500 million dispute that was done entirely using Zoom (due to the coronavirus). I thought it was extremely successful. 

What can expert witnesses do to help tribunals understand the reasons for gaps between different quantum figures they propose?

Clearly articulate the differences using the joint expert report mechanism. 

What steps can younger experts take to improve their chances of getting testifying appointments?

Perform high-quality work and maintain your independence. Experienced practitioners can greatly assist with the development of future talent (which is a core principle at Secretariat).

You have enjoyed a highly successful career to date. What is your proudest achievement?

Developing our people and seeing them succeed.

What advice would you give to experts hoping to one day be in your position?

Work hard and understand the details of your case; maintain your objectivity; and treat people well.

Thought Leaders - Construction Experts 2020

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Don Harvey is a “seasoned” and “excellent” construction specialist, looked upon with enormous favour for his leading expertise on the delay side.​

Questions & Answers

Mr. Harvey is a managing director at Secretariat (a leading provider of expert services). Mr. Harvey provides advice on delay, cost/damages, and productivity/inefficiency. He has been engaged on many of the highest-profile construction disputes in the world such as the Panama Canal, Wembley Stadium and the Burj Khalifa. Mr. Harvey is known for his independence and common-sense approach. He is one of the leading testifying experts in the construction dispute arena. Mr. Harvey is a civil engineer with an MBA in finance.

What impact has covid-19 had on your work as a construction expert?

Hearings and meetings have been performed virtually rather than in-person. I was cross-examined in late March 2020 on a major international construction dispute. 

How was your experience being cross examined in a virtual hearing recently?

Initially, I was a sceptic but the overall experience was positive and I thought the hearing was effective. There was a virtual hot-tubbing session at the end of my cross-examination and it was clear based on the tribunal’s questions that they understand the key issues causing delay on the project.  

In your experience, what do you find to be the positives of conducting virtual hearings?

The big positives were not having to travel, less expenses for the clients, and a positive impact on climate (while not impacting the overall effectiveness of the hearing). 

On the other hand, what challenges do you see arising as a result of virtual hearings?

I’ve heard some grumblings from lawyers about their preference of doing cross-examinations in-person because they feel more in control. Some lawyers use intimidation as a tactic during cross-examinations and I suppose it is more difficult to intimidate a witness during a virtual hearing. I’ve also heard concerns from lawyers about witnesses having notes in front of them (or other aides during cross-examination) during a virtual hearing but there are easy remedies for that.     

To what extent can virtual hearings be relied on to decide high-stakes multibillion-dollar cases between parties? 

I think they can be effective and will only get better over time. 

To what extent will covid-19 change the nature of proceedings in the future? 

I think you will see more virtual hearings and likely hybrid type hearings (in-person/virtual). In my view, the positives of virtual hearings outweigh the negatives.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

Peers and clients say

"Don is a solid and well-regarded expert"
"One of the best on delay"
"A leader in the field of delay analysis"

Biography

Mr Harvey is the founder and managing director of Secretariat International. Secretariat International specialises in providing independent expert advice on construction projects in the areas of programming/scheduling (delay and disruption) contract review, programme assessment, cost/damages and productivity/inefficiency.

Mr Harvey has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry managing projects and advising clients on issues involving project and contract administration, claim preparation, delay, cost, disruption and productivity analyses. Through his years of experience as a construction project manager and as an expert consultant, Mr Harvey has developed a detailed knowledge of construction, project management, scheduling and cost controls. He has been engaged by multinational owners, developers and contractors on many of the highest-profile construction disputes in the world such as the Panama Canal, Wembley Stadium and the Burj Khalifa. Mr Harvey has also been involved with several high-profile disputes related to government contracting and information technology (IT) development/implementation programmes.

Mr Harvey is known for an independent common-sense approach to assessing complex projects based on a detailed knowledge of construction and a practical application of facts. He has testified numerous times as an independent expert witness in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa under the following forums: ICC, Uncitral, Stockholm Institute, AAA, DIAC, LCIA, SIAC, Moscow Court of Arbitration, DRB and DAB. He has also given evidence in the Technology and Construction Court in London, and state and federal courts in the United States. Mr Harvey has experience in the following sectors: oil and gas, mining, power, nuclear, pipelines, rail, highways/bridges/tunnels/airports, hospitals, stadiums, high-rise commercial/residential, education, processing facilities, ship building and manufacturing facilities.

Mr Harvey has a degree in civil engineering from the University of Virginia and an MBA from George Washington University.

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

Peers and clients say:

“Don is the cornerstone of the industry”

"He always does a first rate job"

"He’s outstanding”

Biography

Mr Harvey is the founder and managing director of Secretariat International. Secretariat International specialises in providing independent expert advice on construction projects in the areas of programming/scheduling (delay and disruption) contract review, programme assessment, cost/damages and productivity/inefficiency.

Mr Harvey has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry managing projects and advising clients on issues involving project and contract administration, claim preparation, delay, cost, disruption and productivity analyses. Through his years of experience as a construction project manager and as an expert consultant, Mr Harvey has developed a detailed knowledge of construction, project management, scheduling and cost controls. He has been engaged by multinational owners, developers and contractors on many of the highest-profile construction disputes in the world such as the Panama Canal, Wembley Stadium and the Burj Khalifa. Mr Harvey has also been involved with several high-profile disputes related to government contracting and information technology (IT) development/implementation programmes.

Mr Harvey is known for an independent common-sense approach to assessing complex projects based on a detailed knowledge of construction and a practical application of facts. He has testified numerous times as an independent expert witness in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa under the following forums: ICC, Uncitral, Stockholm Institute, AAA, DIAC, LCIA, SIAC, Moscow Court of Arbitration, DRB and DAB. He has also given evidence in the Technology and Construction Court in London, and state and federal courts in the United States. Mr Harvey has experience in the following sectors: oil and gas, mining, power, nuclear, pipelines, rail, highways/bridges/tunnels/airports, hospitals, stadiums, high-rise commercial/residential, education, processing facilities, ship building and manufacturing facilities.

Mr Harvey has a degree in civil engineering from the University of Virginia and an MBA from George Washington University.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Don Harvey is “without question a lead expert on delay disputes”, and is credited with strong experience in the construction industry.

Biography

Mr Harvey is the founder and managing director of Secretariat International. Secretariat International specialises in providing independent expert advice on construction projects in the areas of programming/scheduling (delay and disruption) contract review, programme assessment, cost/damages and productivity/inefficiency.

Mr Harvey has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry managing projects and advising clients on issues involving project and contract administration, claim preparation, delay, cost, disruption and productivity analyses. Through his years of experience as a construction project manager and as an expert consultant, Mr Harvey has developed a detailed knowledge of construction, project management, scheduling and cost controls. He has been engaged by multinational owners, developers and contractors on many of the highest-profile construction disputes in the world such as the Panama Canal, Wembley Stadium and the Burj Khalifa. Mr Harvey has also been involved with several high-profile disputes related to government contracting and information technology (IT) development/implementation programmes.

Mr Harvey is known for an independent common-sense approach to assessing complex projects based on a detailed knowledge of construction and a practical application of facts. He has testified numerous times as an independent expert witness in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa under the following forums: ICC, Uncitral, Stockholm Institute, AAA, DIAC, LCIA, SIAC, Moscow Court of Arbitration, DRB and DAB. He has also given evidence in the Technology and Construction Court in London, and state and federal courts in the United States. Mr Harvey has experience in the following sectors: oil and gas, mining, power, nuclear, pipelines, rail, highways/bridges/tunnels/airports, hospitals, stadiums, high-rise commercial/residential, education, processing facilities, ship building and manufacturing facilities.

Mr Harvey has a degree in civil engineering from the University of Virginia and an MBA from George Washington University.

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